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Ceasefire opens up deeper waters for Gaza's fishermen

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According to Hamas, the terms of the ceasefire include Israel lifting the blockade on Gaza by opening the border crossings to movement of people and goods, both on land and at sea. In the first sign of this, in recent days fishermen and farmers have reported that they have ventured farther out to sea and closer to the border fence than previously allowed. 

Hamas has claimed the terms of the Egypt-brokered ceasefire are a victory for the group, which maintains an armed wing that battled Israel in the recent conflict. And with restrictions already beginning to ease, most Gazans agree, and are keen to see the ceasefire hold. 

Mukhaimar Abu Saada, professor of political science at Gaza's al-Azhar University, says it is likely the ceasefire will hold for now because it benefits all parties. "Hamas needs stability in Gaza to start the reconstruction process that Qatar is going to finance," he says. "Hamas also needs to use the Arab support it got during the Israeli offensive and translate this support on the ground" by turning from military actions to its political role, bringing stability to the people instead of war and destruction, he says. 

Border still blocked

Yet one key part of the ceasefire agreement has yet to be implemented: the easing of Israel's blockade on imports and exports and the movement of people through border crossings, which Israel says is necessary for its own security. It is yet unclear how or whether Israel will follow through on what Hamas says was a term of the agreement. A Hamas delegation is in Cairo today to discuss the terms of the ceasefire, through Egyptian mediators, with the Israeli side. Opening the crossings to increased traffic is one of the items on the agenda, says Moussa Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of Hamas's political leadership, who lives in Cairo. 

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